Let Black History Month inspire you to get involved and support PCS by standing up to racism, challenging stereotypes and promoting equality today.
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month (BHM) is an opportunity to focus on the achievements of black people past and present and reflect on our path to race equality.
It started in the USA with a holiday that coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederic Douglass. In the US, BHM is celebrated in February but in the UK it takes place in October each year. Since the first UK celebration in 1987 the event has expanded and now encompasses the history of Africa, Caribbean and Asian people who have a direct link with the UK through slavery, colonialism and migration.
This year Black History Month is Celebrating Achievement
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Race Relations Act 1968 which is particularly relevant to our union movement & workers as it introduced protection from discrimination in the workplace and in union membership. However, there are still horrific levels of racism at work and in wider society, from the Windrush scandal to Islamophobic hate crime, scapegoating of migrant communities to the impact of austerity on employment prospects, discrimination in appraisal to racist harassment and bullying at work, plus much more.
It is important during BHM to celebrate the contribution of black trade unionists to educate, elevate and celebrate, every month of every year.
The Chair of National Black Member Committee, Mohammed Shafiq and Vice-Chair Tracey Hylton feel that we need to continue to challenge these issues as trade unionists.
"This year at the National Black Members seminar, it gives us the chance to give recognition to the contributions to the Black Workers, Trade Unionists within the movement and our own Union, and to help build on their legacy by listening to inspirational speakers, and undergoing workshops on how to get active and organised to move forward in making positive change.
Too often the invaluable contributions of Black Trade Unionists is overlooked, and Black History Month gives us the opportunity to celebrate and promote our achievements."
Why support Black History Month?
Black history is often ‘hidden’ – it may have been forgotten about or be absent from history books and the education system. Similarly the role of women, disabled, LGBT+ and ordinary workers in general is often overlooked in formal history.
Black History Month is an opportunity for all PCS members to remember our history and look to the future, joining together to renew our commitment to race equality. Events can provide an informative and interesting experience for all PCS members and give black members an opportunity to raise awareness of their histories and the challenges their communities have faced.
"Black History Month is a chance for us to celebrate the contribution that Black members have made to the trade union movement. PCS continues to encourage members from under-represented groups to get involved at all levels of the union and 2019 saw 4 black activists elected to the National Executive Committee this year plus 1 Vice President. PCS has campaigned for years for equality, freedom and justice for members both within and outside the workplace. We are pleased to support Black History Month again this year, and would urge all members, branches and regions to use the campaign materials provided to raise its profile and participate in activities organised". Mark Serwotka (General Secretary) and Fran Heathcote (National President)
Organising for Black History Month
Organise your own event/activity in your branch and workplace by using the resources available on this page:
- Use the Photo opp cards and send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Check for events in your PCS region/nation.
- Let us know about your event or any other activity you are involved in either inside or outside of work, by emailing email@example.com - include pictures if you have them.
- Forward any suggestions or ideas for Black History Month to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In your local area get involved www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk
PCS salutes those who throughout history have joined together to challenge racism, injustice and exploitation. All our members have a crucial part to play in spreading the message of trade unionism and campaigning collectively for equality, freedom and justice.
The following materials are available for use: